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Wa: Youth embarks on street campaign for re-enrollment of teenage mothers in school

Youth embarks on street campaign
Youth embarks on street campaign

The Voices of Youth Coalition (VoYC), Wa Municipal, has embarked on a street campaign to call attention to the need for teenage mothers to reenroll in schools.

The street campaign, participated by several young people from diverse youth groups, organizations and networks, saw the youth walked through some principal streets of the Upper West Regional capital, Wa over the weekend.

The youth welded placards, some of which read: “Re-enroll our teen mothers today”, “Let’s protect our girls, they are our future”, “End stigma against teen mothers”, ‘Giving birth should not stop your academic aspirations, join our campaign and get back in school today”.

“After COVID-19, we realized that we had about 1,786 teenage pregnancies in the Wa Municipality and over 10,000 teenage pregnancy cases in the region. We have realized that these teenage mothers are not in school and we actually need them in school.

“In today’s program, we are creating awareness that these teen mothers need to go back to school and then we need to stop the stigma against teen mothers and also try as much as possible, to keep a safe environment in the school so that the school will be accommodative enough,” the President of the VoYC, Miss Rahinatu Haruna, said.

She expressed optimism about the prospects of the campaign as she noted that the Ghana Education Service in the municipality was receptive to the campaign’s message.

She said the real problem on the ground was about the affected girls accepting to return to school or not, given the concerns of stigma and negative stereotypes as well as the availability of appropriate infrastructure.

“The biggest problem we actually have is the girls themselves deciding to go back to school or accepting the fact that they need to go back to school. And this is because they feel the school is not safe them: there is stigma, there is discrimination and even the infrastructure there is not suitable for them.

“So we actually need to make the school safe for them, so that we can convince them that, yes, they can get back to school and these schools will be free of stigma, free of discrimination and it will be accommodative enough for them,” Miss Haruna said.

The Vice President of the coalition, Mr Joshua Jirjiri indicated that the group looked forward to an engagement with the Wa Municipal Education Directorate to find appropriate mechanisms in which the schools could better integrate the teenage mothers.

He urged the young mothers to consider their futures and accept to return to school as he said, “at the end of the day, when they grow up, they bear responsibility of their lives” adding that teenage pregnancy should not be a barrier because “it was a mistake and we have to correct the wrong.”

“When COVID-19 came, it brought a lot of negatives not limited to interrupted education but it also led young boys into substance use and girls into streetism and ultimately the teenage pregnancies we are talking about,” said Rhoda Adam, a participant in the street campaign shared her thoughts.

The VoYC, an extension of Youth on Board (YoB), is an initiative by Youth Opportunity and Transformation in Africa (YOTA) in partnership with 100% For The Children with support from Danish Civil Society in Development (CISU), aimed at engendering youth voices in Ghana’s education sector response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is being implemented in eight municipalities in Ghana, including Wa Municipal.

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